Ampleforth Connections

My cousin Hamish has published a couple of obituaries for my uncles Michael Albert Astley and David William Astley Birtwistle.  They originally came from the The Ampleforth Journal, which used to be available on the Ampleforth website. Sadly, they don’t seem to be there anymore because the obituary for my uncle David explained that he came from a family of five generations of Amplefordians- Marwoods, Birtwistles, Pritchards, Maclarens, Kirbys and Sandys, stretching over 115 years from August 1883 to 1998.

The connection with Ampleforth actually goes back further than Tom Marwood’s arrival in 1883. As mentioned in the except from my uncle David’s obituary below, Tom’s elder brother (my great grandfather) Frederick (Thomas) Marwood of Pleasington Lodge in Lancashire married Mary Agnes (‘Polly’) Walker , of Avenham Tower. Frederick was actually educated by the Xaverian Brothers in Bruge along with his brother Edward. However, according to the list of Ampleforth Pupils from 1866-95 at least 3 of Polly’s brothers attended Ampleforth before Tom’s arrival:

Charles Aloysius Walker (b. abt1855, poss. attended 1870)
Stanislaus Walker (b. abt 1864, attended 1875)
(John H) Wilfred Walker (b. abt. 1868, attended 1881)

I’m not sure if their brother James Leo (b. abt. 1862) also attended but certainly their nephew Luigi Psaila did a little later in 1895. His father Luigi Psaila married Mary Georgina Walker sister of the above.

There may have been other Walker relatives who attended and also possibly their Parkinson cousins.  Margaret Parkinsonand married John Walker, and they were the grandparents of the Walkers mentioned above. Margaret’s brother John Parkinson married Ann Gornall, and her grandparents were Richard Gillow and Isabel Brewer – Isabel was the first cousin of Ampleforth founder John Bede Brewer. His nephew and first cousin once removed of Isabel was Archbishop John Bede Polding OSB. So not only were the Lancastrian Catholic Parkinson, Gillow, Gornall and Walker families well acquainted in the early 1800s, but the strong link to the school that goes back a lot further than originally thought.

Funnily enough the link with school was broken for a time after my brother Marcus left, as I didn’t get in and was packed off to the Morayshire coast instead, but based on the except from my uncle David’s obituary below it seems like the Sandys have renewed the link and who knows there maybe more to come.

I noticed that a Thomas Anselm Walker OSB attended Ampleforth (1831-1838 in take). It says he spent many years at Brownedge, and built tower and spire there. He was also great benefactor to Monastery. It’s just that Charles Aloysius Walker, son of James Walker of Avenham Towers and Mary Hannah Smith, died in Brownedge House, Bamber Bridge, in 1905. I wonder if there’s any connection between these Walkers, as I can’t find Thomas Anselm Walker on the family tree I’ve been sent.

Except from David William Astley Birtwistle obituary:
Stretching over 115 years from August 1883 to 1998, David Birtwistle came from a family of five generations of Amplefordians- Marwoods, Birtwistles, Pritchards, Maclarens, Kirbys and Sandys. The first of these five generations is represented by Tom Marwood (born 1873, arrived Ampleforth 22 August 1883- OA) David’s great uncle. Tom Marwood’s half brother, Frederik Marwood of Pleasington Lodge in Lancashire (married Mary Walker), not himself an Amplefordian, has 14 direct descendents who are Amplefordians. The second of these five generations is represented by the children of Frederick and Mary Matwood; of their eight children , the four son’s, David’s uncles, all came to Ampleforth; Basil (OA 1901), Cyril (OA 1902), Reginald (AO 1907, later Fr Stephen Marwood), and Gilbert (OA 1909). A sister of these four brothers, Muriel married James Astley Birtwistle (always known by both first names), and they were to be parents, grandparents and great grand parents of more generations of Amplefordians. The third of these five generations involves children of Muriel and James Astley Birtwistle; of the eight children the four sons were at Ampleforth – Michael (W38, who was at Dunkirk and later High Sheriff of Lancashire), Edmund (W42 died in 1970s), David himself and Anthony (E46). The fourth generation, the nephews of David, consists of Michael Pritchard (T72, the second son of Mary, David’s eldest sister); Mark Birtwistle(W70) and Jeremy Birtwistle (W72) (sons of Michael (W38) and also the nephews of David Craig (OA45, killed while at Ampleforth on a cycle on Gormie Day)); Hugo Kirby (E71) and Marcus Kirby (E75) (the sons of Angela, David’s younger sister). In the fifth of these five generations are the great nephews of David- Edward and George Sandys (arrived at St Hugh’s house 1997 and 1998 respectively, the grandsons of Edmund Birtwistle (W42) and sons of Camilla and Myles Sandys). Other Ampleforth connections are David’s brother Anthony (E46) and sister Annette both married Ampleforth families – Anthony’s wife Diana was the daughter of Charles Barnewall (Lord Trimlestown, E45 – died 1997) and Raymond (E48); Annette married Ian Maclaren (OA 32 died 1997), the brother of Peter Maclaren (OA36, died 1996) and David Maclaren (OA39).


5 thoughts on “Ampleforth Connections

  1. Steve Robinson has been in touch to let me know that it seems that Charles Aloysius Walker was involved in the building of the first church in the parish in Lostock Hall, Preston.

    Another Walker is also mentioned – the architect but our C Walker relation was the building contractor. Steve thinks that the other Charles Walker of Newcastle was also an Ampleforth pupil.

    The Brownedge House where Charles Aloysius Walker lived and died is next to St Mary’s, Brownedge. Not sure if I can link our Walkers to Thomas Anselm Walker OSB though.

  2. My mother also says that grandchildren of her brother Anthony (Pawle and Oliver families) and her sister Iris (Birtwistle) also went to Ampleforth. They must be same generation as Sandys family. Doesn’t look like any Kirby offspring will be going again though.

  3. I am researching my Walker ancestors, Thomas Anselm Walker, OSB was born in Balckburn and I think John Walker also born in Blackburn (both at Ampleforth) were brothers. John Walker was my great great grandfather and was a cotton spinner in Blackburn. His grandson Richard Kernan also at Ampleforth, and another grandson Victor Walker. I’m pretty sure about this. Caroline Kernan

  4. Another great grandfather of mine John Conolly also at Ampleforth, his grandmother was a Cecilia Barnewall, daughter of Lord Trimelstown. She was married to a James Conolly and they lived outside Trim, Co Meath at Newhaggard House.

    1. Caroline … thanks for getting in touch and interesting about Barnewall connection, although there does seem to be a lot of connection around Ampleforth for Lancashire Catholics.



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